Top 10 Baking Tips

Yum-yum! Who doesn’t love cakes and cookies? Cakes and its innumerable variations are an all-time favourite across all the age-groups. The innumerable cake and pastry shops that dot the streets of every locality tantalize the taste buds of one and all with their delectable wares. But, not all are aware of the love and painstaking effort that goes into the making of these sinful delights.

It all starts from buying your baking tools online from a reputable baking equipment manufacturer. However, while getting a hang of baking it is necessary to keep in mind certain baking tips that will help you to bake the perfect cake and cookie.

1. Go through’ the recipe in detail – The recipe has to be read in detail to ensure that you have all the ingredients with you, right and ready for undertaking your baking.

2. Ensure that ingredients are weighed correctly – Your baking attempt can turn out to be a disaster if the ingredients are not weighed correctly. Using a kitchen scale will help you to get your weights right. Measuring the ingredients precisely is also equally essential and here measuring cups, spoons and pitchers will come to your aid. In this context, it is wise to buy baking accessories online if you want to reduce the cost of your spend.

3. Equip yourself with the right equipment – Each recipe has to be read carefully to ascertain the type of equipment that will be required. Bakeware moulds, silicone spatula, pastry moulds are just to name a few that will be required. Here, too it helps to buy baking equipment online.

4. Room temperature is a key factor – If the recipe demands, ingredients such as butter, milk etc has to be kept ready at room temperature. The ingredients should be left on the counter for a while to let them come to the room temperature.

5. Ensure that your oven door remains closed – Continuous opening and closing of oven door for checking if your cakes or cookies are done should be avoided. Cool air gets in by doing this and this can ruin your recipe.

6. Testing for doneness – Use a combination of the toothpick method and checking the cake color for ascertaining its doneness. You can also touch the cake top and press down slightly and if it pops up back then it is done.

7. Start off with easy recipes – It is better to start off with easy recipes and delve into complicated ones after you get a good hang of baking.

8. Give your baking the required time – Undertake your baking only when you have sufficient time to give to it. Do not rush the baking process as a few minutes also make a lot of difference.

9. Use an oven thermometer – The possibility of the oven’s temperature going off cannot be ruled out if the oven is an old one. It is wiser to use an oven thermometer which can be kept in the oven to know the precise temperature.

10. Chilling your cookie dough – Pay close attention to your cookie dough and chill it before using if certain firmness is required. This enhances the flavour and turns out solid, thicker cookies.

Summarizing
Making and decorating cakes is a very fulfilling process which gives full scope to your innate creativity. Following the above mentioned tips will ensure that your baked goodies definitely rise to total perfection.

10 Utensils Common In Food Preparation In Africa

There are utensils in food preparation and in cooking that are unique to Africa. Here are a few!

1. Cooking Pot

In modern Africa, many families have switched to using cooking utensils made of metallic, ceramic and other materials, especially when using modern cooking fires such as electric or gas fires. However, the traditional earthenware cooking pot still remains a favourite for many.

The traditional cooking pot is made of clay, and then fired in a kiln. The processes involved in producing a cooking pot and a water pot are different, since a water pot only needs to keep water cool and not withstand the fire.

The traditional cooking pot is often used over an open fire, such as a wood fire, or at a hearth, or over a charcoal burner. The earthy smell of the cooking pot lends a unique flavour to the food. Fresh beans or meat simmered in a pot have quite a different flavour to when cooked in a metallic saucepan.

The insulatory qualities of the clay pot also slow down the cooking process, which further enhances the flavour of the food.

2. Mortar and Pestle

A mortar and pestle used to be standard equipment in many African households, and often still are. A mortar and pestle were used when pounding grain such as millet or sorghum to separate the chaff from the grain.

In western Africa, cooked yam or cocoyam is also pounded into foo-foo. In Uganda, roasted groundnuts are pounded into odii paste, while raw groundnuts are pounded into ebinyewa groundnut powder.

The Africa mortar and pestle are large for heavy duty pounding, differing from their counterpart common in western cooking, which is a small utensil for gently rubbing spices.

3. Mingling Stick

Most African kitchens have a mingling stick, or indeed a whole collection of them. They are made of wood, and come in all sizes and many different shapes. The most common is the wooden mingling stick with a flat head, used to stir food, but more often to mingle posho, ugali or kuon – maize meal or millet meal bread.

Every woman has a favourite mingling stick, which she claims produces the best results!

4. Gourd

In many communities, a gourd is a special and very handy utensil. A gourd is a climbing plant, which produces a long or round fruit. When this fruit matures and dries, it makes a very useful container. A ripe gourd is often brown or golden in colour. The woody inside is then hollowed out and cleaned.

The Kalenjin of western Kenya use their gourds to ferment milk in. And of course, every woman has her own favourite gourd.

When a gourd is cut lengthwise into two, one then has two calabashes, which are very useful for serving drinks. The clean, woody smell of drinking water in a calabash is quite unique. In northern Uganda,visitors were often served homemade beer in calabashes.

Several ethnic communities in Africa also use calabashes as musical instruments, including the Acoli of northern Uganda and communities in western Africa, such as in Mali.

6. Winnowing Tray

A winnowing tray – or several – is still a treasured utensil in many African homes. A winnowing tray is woven out of reeds, and is useful for sorting grain. After pounding or threshing, maize, millet, sorghum, rice, simsim and groundnuts are then winnowed in a tray to separate the grain from the chaff.

In some communities, special reed trays are also used to serve food for festive occasions.

7. Grinding Stone

In many communities, a grinding stone was the centre piece in the kitchen. Some homesteads had a grinding hut or house, where various grinding stones of various sizes were housed, for grinding millet, sorghum, or odii. Grinding stones have gradually been replaced by mills.

8. Knives

Like in any other cuisine, knives are important in African food preparation too. However, traditional knives differed from modern ones. In Uganda for example, a short, double-edged knife was popular for peeling matoke – cooking banana – and for scaling fish or skinning slaughtered animals.

9. Sieve

Every cuisine in the world uses sieves. Sieves in Africa are now mostly made of metal or plastic. Traditionally, they were woven out of soft reeds. They were used to sieve flour, or beer, before serving it.

10. Shards

In many homes, shards from broken pots and broken calabashes were valued utensils. In the Acoli culture for example, calabash shards were treasured for smoothing out millet bread before serving. Apparently, nothing did quite as well as a piece of broken calabash. And of course, every woman had her favourite shards!

Winnowing trays, mingling sticks, gourds, sieves, calabashes and cooking pots were and still often are included in the gifts a new bride receives to set up her household.

As new foods, and new methods of food preparation establish themselves on the continent, new utensils will also replace the old ones. Indeed, the new labour-saving devices are welcome everywhere.

9 Basic Cooking Tips For Beginners

I used to spend hours in the kitchen watching and helping my mother cook for the family. As I got older my love and passion for cooking never seemed to waiver and the influence from her has helped me tremendously over the years.

I don’t regard myself has an expert and have always been willing to learn and pick up advice, tips and techniques from people who have more knowledge than me about different aspects of cooking.

However much of the early advice, tips and techniques about cooking was passed on to me from my mother and this is where I learnt the basics about cooking, which is as relevant today as it was when I was younger. The list below includes much of that advice given to me which I would like to share with you.

1. Keep Things Simple

Keep things simple, don’t attempt complicated recipes without first trying very basic cooking recipes. In other words don’t run before you can walk!

2. Read the Recipe

Always read the recipe first and I don’t mean just skim read it. Read it properly from start to finish, several times over so you know exactly what is required with regards to ingredients and using correct utensils such as pots, pans and dishes.

3. Use the Correct Amount of Ingredients

Don’t guess the amount of ingredients you require for a recipe, make sure you use measuring scales for dry ingredients and a measuring jug for liquids. More than often using incorrect amounts of ingredients in a recipe can have a disastrous effect on the outcome of your cooking. It’s fair to say that most recipes contents are flexible and most experienced cooks will know whether a recipe will work or not with a variation on the amount of ingredients, however I would suggest if you are a novice or beginner cook, don’t deviate from the recipes instructions.

4. Don’t Try To Be Perfect

Never be hard on yourself when attempting new recipes, always do the best you can and don’t try to be perfect, because I’m afraid nothing and nobody is perfect, even those celebrity chef’s we all see on TV. Believe it or not they mess up recipes just like the rest of us.

5. Pre-heat Pots and Pans

I was always taught that before beginning the process of cooking any food, was to make sure that the pots and pans were heated properly first. The reason being is that it saves time whilst cooking and also reduces the risk of food sticking to the pots or pans. Having said that there many varied opinions on this subject and what I would say is that it’s really trial and error if you decide to use a cold pan.

6. Use the Correct Size Pots and Pans

Make sure you use the correct size pots and pans for the quantity of food you intend to cook. Too large a pan for a small amount of food is a waste of energy, where as small pan with too much food, strangely enough tends to need more heat to cook the food and then there is the problem that the contents of the pan will overflow and make mess of your cooker.

7. Use a Kitchen Timer

Always use a kitchen timer of some description, especially if you are cooking multiple dishes. Don’t rely on guesswork or as some would say basic instinct. Yes you can check with the kitchen clock or your wristwatch, but I often use the timer on the microwave as a fail safe.

8. Invest in a Freezer

Investing in a freezer is perhaps a cooking tip that is not often thought about. When I was younger we used to have a great big old chest freezer in the garage and I remember my mother always getting something out the freezer first thing in the morning for dinner that evening. She would spend a few hours a week to prepare and cook large batches of food which were then frozen and used as and when required, this in turn save time and money.

9. Keep Your Kitchen Knives Sharp

Always use sharp knives. Firstly it’s a lot safer, a knife that is not sharp can be a dangerous implement. Secondly it will make your work in the kitchen far easier. Keep your knives sharp with a knife steel, essentially this is a steel rod with a handle which you can buy separately or with a knife set.

20 Head Smacking Food Cooking Tips

A lot of us are often given blurred visions of certain food preparation techniques that we forget many vital processes; thanks to commercialized quick-to-eat food products that make us want to pop them in the oven and voila! There are certain kitchen/cooking metrics that we Food Central do not encourage, but would like you to know so that you can be kitchen-smart.

Here are a few simple cooking tips that you might find handy when you do cooking. Preparing ingredients are sometimes tedious work – Just like washing vegetables, peeling prawns, washing shellfish, dressing the sirloin and so forth. If you know what’s best for yourself in the kitchen, you might be able to run away from certain fuss by using these food techniques:

  1. Salt your water when you’re hard-boiling eggs The trick to easy-peel hard boil eggs is actually adding in salt to lukewarm water, turn on the fire and start cooking the eggs. When your water is boiled, turn down your fire to simmer. Constantly check your eggs for cracks – Too hot of the water will crack your eggs (and if you want to save gas by putting in hot boiling water to boil your eggs, you might just crack a lot of them if you’re boiling in a chunk); salt your water by adding in around 1 handful of salt to 5 liters of water. The salt will lengthen your boiling time but it’ll make your life 100 times simpler.
  2. Keep your knife hot when you’re slicing ‘vulnerable’ food items The trick to making the perfect slice for eggs or cheesecake (and some chocolate products) is to keep your knife hot, not warm. Stainless steel do not keep hot temperatures well, and looking at your thin chef knife, it won’t keep it for long either. Clean your knife, dip it into hot boiling water for a while or put them over naked fire then make your incision – You’ll notice that it makes a very clean cut.
  3. When you slice eggs, keep the yolk on top Hard-boiled eggs are best sliced (usually into half) from their yolk section first. Always look for the yolk, then make your incision there. Slicing too far away from the yolk makes it hard for you to aim well – Also makes your egg portions uneven. In certain cases where you can’t see the yolk or it’s already out in the open, just follow No. 2 and do it your way.
  4. Use egg whites to ‘smoothen’ your chicken If you’re marinading chicken, you can also add egg white into your marinade and keep them inside. For example, one whole chicken (portioned into 8), and one large egg white. After cooking the chicken, you’ll notice the skin is actually smoother.
  5. Italian sauces are best left for a day before consumption Many homemade Italian sauces are great – Even better if you ‘age’ them for a day. As liquid evaporates from your sauces (giving you a more focused and intense flavor) and/or incorporates with other ingredients using its naturals, these sauces will not lose its flavor for a day but gives you a bigger punch the next day. Best few examples are basic tomato sauces, pesto and stocks like Velouté (white stock – Can be vegetable, fish, shellfish or chicken) or (X – can be any vegetable) Concasse.
  6. For a better Parmesan, let it ‘sweat’ Many cheeses cannot be done this way, but for the special Midori brand Parmesan Cheese in a block, (found in Jusco & Cold Storage and sometimes Tesco) cheeses can be left to sweat and made better. Here’s how you do it – Open the packaging but only remove the top part. Leave it outside on your dinner table (under 20+C room temperature) and make sure it has no contact with sunlight and rodents. Keep it that way for 2 days – Now taste it. It’s different.
  7. Let your Chinese Celery and/or Coriander live longer Putting them in your fridge alone (with paper or plastic wrap) will kill them fast. Get a small ‘deep’ tupperware or even a Milo tin, add water in it, and let them sit inside (with roots below). This will lengthen their shelf life.
  8. Remove chicken skin with one incision and one pull If you need to remove the main chicken skin from your whole chicken, do this: Use a sharp knife and turn your chicken breast-side-down. Make a straight vertical incision along the ‘backbone’ of the chicken, then tear the chicken skin apart. This should remove most of its skin (except for the wings).
  9. Non-stick a pan with food ingredients or few techniques Heat/Temperature control is your best technique. If you need your pan to be non-stick (but it’s not labeled or sold as non-stick), you can do a few things – Heat your pan thoroughly before cooking (dry), fry a full egg before cooking, cook a stick-able ingredient until the surface is cooked before touching it (with high enough heat), oil your pan and heat the oil (then remove it and place it in another container) before cooking and fry beansprouts or coconut husks before cooking.
  10. Remove the ‘new’ smell from your Pan or Wok You can try this few ingredients. Don’t bother washing it too many times to rid the smell because some ‘cheap’ pans don’t work. You can try heating the pan to the maximum then pouring hot oil into it and throw away, fry beansprouts or coconut husks, leave it heated under hot charcoal for 30 minutes, make a simple ‘stew’ and throw them away. All of these works, but if you’re still getting the smell, then you know that pan won’t last long.
  11. Getting ‘rust’ marks out of your pans and woks Chinese woks are famous for this, especially when they are old. You tend to leave your wok to hang (with some water intact) and you come back and find your wok has rust marks. You can use a few methods to combat this problem: After washing your pan/wok, use a kitchen towel and some oil then rub enough oil on it – This will enable water to not oxidize the metal surface of your pan/wok. Alternatively, you can also heat your pan/wok to the maximum, and then leave it to cook (do not let it come in contact with water. Wash before heating your pan/wok.
  12. Don’t store shellfish into the fridge Storing shellfish into the fridge is the wrong way to go (applies for freshly live ones). What you can do is wash them under running water for a while to remove the dirt, place them in a container (without covering) then get a wet kitchen cloth and cover them. Make sure they’re in room temperature and is not kept for more than 1 1/2 days. Do this for live clams and local mussels (Malaysia).
  13. Don’t use mayonnaise straight from the tub/container Commercialized mayonnaise taste absolutely ridiculous if you’re not challenging it with another strong-tasting ingredient. What you can do to ‘tame’ its flavor is to add in milk, salt & pepper, whisk them well to a thinner texture. If you’re adventurous enough, take a small portion of mayonnaise and add in a few more ingredients. You can add garlic, tomato/chilly sauce, Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins), Maggi Seasoning Sauce, Jalapeño juice, Pickles, cream, sugar, brine, onions, carrots, cabbage or anything you can find in the fridge. Its tastes are subjective, so be careful.
  14. Test your knife with a tomato Want to know how sharp is your knife but do not know how to test it? Here are a few simple tricks for you to test them out: Slice a not-so-young-and-fresh (when pressed is quite soft) tomato, and you should be able to slice it without putting pressure on your knife blade. Another way is to slice big, yellow/red onions. If you cry fast, then it’s either your techniques or your blade. Another great way of testing is to slice plastic. Extremely sharp knives slice plastic bags almost too easily – Without even having to add any pressure. Simply move it along the plastic bag and see if it goes through.
  15. Don’t wash freshly harvested mushrooms Washing freshly harvested mushrooms can be disastrous (to its natural flavors). If you’re looking for hygiene, PICK IT FROM A MORE HYGIENIC PLACE or get it from Tesco. Either way, they work better. If you’re not particular, simply use a pastry brush and brush off its sand. For certain mushrooms like fresh button mushrooms, peel their ‘outer’ skin before cooking. You can use that skin for your chicken stock.
  16. Keep cockroaches away with this leaf Use ‘Pandan‘ (or called Screw Pine) leaves to keep cockroaches away. They work extremely well. Pandan/Screw Pine leaves has hundreds of usage in thousands of recipes and home-uses.
  17. Reheat your bread in the microwave oven with some water Put in your bread and a microwave-oven-friendly bowl or glass filled with water in the microwave oven and give it a quick 20 second high heat. This will not make your bread lose too much of its moisture.
  18. Make your banana grow naturally juicier What you can do is to hang your bananas – Using a string or a hook, hang the banana on its comb and let it sit on air – This will give your banana a juicy boost and also make it brown evenly. Placing it on cold surfaces will blacken the skin (in one area first then spread to more later) faster. Bananas are naturally ‘bomb-smoked’ first in the farm before it goes on sale (to enable boost and uniform ripening), and when it’s done that way, your bananas don’t taste as good as natural ones.
  19. Keep your rice from rodents and stick-free When you’re keeping uncooked rice, leave a few pieces of dried chilly in the container your store your uncooked rice. This will keep insects and rodents away. Besides, adding fresh dried chilly into your rice cooker will also make your cooking easier – The rice won’t stick to the bottom. Make sure you don’t cook the dried chilly (or make it come in contact with oil) first or it won’t work.
  20. Naturally cook your ingredients a few times faster If you’re adventurous enough, you can try packaging (in a plastic bag) a few unripe apples and some chilly. Put in 4 apples to 4 pieces of red chilly. Put them in a bag together and place it in the fridge. You’ll notice that the chilly ‘reactions’ actually ‘cook’ the apples faster. Although this is not entirely ‘proven’ scientifically to many Chef’s knowledge, it does work in certain cases.

5 Cooking Methods Common To African Cuisine

Which methods of food preparation are commonly used in Africa? Here is an introduction to a few cooking methods common in African cuisine:

1. Roasting

Roasting refers to cooking food over an open fire, without water. The fire may be an open wood fireplace or a hearth, or a charcoal burner. Foods that are often roasted in Africa include meat, fish, tubers such as sweet potatoes, arrow roots, Irish potatoes and cassava, as well as some types of banana.

2. Boiling

Boiling refers to cooking food with water, without oil. Frequently, an earthen ware cooking pot may be used. Cooking utensils made of metal or other materials are also gaining in popularity.

Foods that are boiled include vegetables, pulses such as peas and beans, tubers such as potatoes and cassava, and grains such as rice. In northern Uganda, odii – groundnut paste, is added to the boiled dish as a sauce.

3. Steaming

In southern Uganda, steaming is an important method of food preparation. Cooking bananas – matoke – are steamed inside banana leaves, over a pot full of boiling water. Fish, meat and vegetables are also wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.

Steaming is a recommended cooking method because it is said to better preserve the nutritive value of foods.

4. Immigrant populations to Africa have brought with them their own ways of preparing food, such as frying food. Frying food was traditionally uncommon to African cuisine, but has now been adopted by almost everyone. Frying refers to cooking food with cooking oil, as well as the possible addition of onions and tomatoes.

It is now common to fry all types of foodstuffs: meat, fish, pulses, vegetables and pastries.

5. Baking

While baking is slowly making inroads into African cuisine, it is still very much a new cooking method, not yet very widespread except in bakeries. Baking is certainly not yet as widespread as in western societies, where not just bread and cakes are baked, but also pies, pastries, melted cheese dishes and other foods.

The food preparation methods in Africa demonstrate the changing face of African cuisine, with adopted cooking methods such as frying now playing a major role in African cooking.

Traditional methods of food preparation such as boiling and steaming were fat-free, and therefore also a lot healthier.

They will continue to play a vital role because many foodstuffs found on the continent are best prepared in this way. For example, dried foodstuffs almost always have to be boiled first.

However, new cooking methods also open up a wider variety of taste and cooking experiences.

Stop Eating Fast Food And Start Cooking At Home For Better Health

More than likely you already know that eating fast food is not a healthy choice. However, you probably keep eating it for a variety of reasons. Even though everyone is aware of how bad fast food can be, the fast food industry is doing just fine, even during tough economic times. Simply check out the fast food joints during lunch hour or around dinner time and you will quickly realize that many people are choosing to keep eating fast food, even if they know it is not good for them. So, how can you stop eating fast food?

While you may be hearing that fast food is unhealthy all the time, it still may not be enough to make you stop eating fast food. Many people choose this option because it is convenient and fast. Some do not like cooking or do not feel like cooking after working hard all day, so they go with this food choice. There are even some that believe that fast food is a cheaper option as well.

One of the best things you can do to stop eating convenience food is to start cooking at home. While you may think that cooking is hard or that it takes a lot of time, you will actually find that it can be easy, convenient, and healthy if you use the right recipes. Enjoying better health is as simply as nixing the this food choice and starting to make quick and healthy meals at home. Get the family involved and you will enjoy spending time together and cut back on prep time, since everyone is helping out.

Take time to go grocery shopping on the weekends, purchasing healthy ingredients that you can use to make easy and quick meals. If you stock up on the right items for cooking at home, you will be less likely to make that stop at the fast food joint. Spend some time looking at recipes online as well. Start learning more about cooking and ways that you can cut back on the time it takes the prepare a meal. The more you learn, the better job you will be able to do in the kitchen.

If you are not convinced that you can have a nice meal that is easy, fast, and cheap to make, here is a look at one of the many wonderful tasty recipes that you can make fast without having to spend hours in the kitchen.

Quick and Easy Chinese Stir Fry Recipe

What You will Need:

  • 1 cup of dry brown rice, cooked
  • 1 bag of frozen stir fry vegetables
  • 1 pound of chicken breast, grilled
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce
  • Olive Oil

How to Make It:

Start the rice first. Put the cup of dry rice in a rice cooker and cooking according to directions or cook on the stove top by following the directions on the packet. Meanwhile, use a Foreman grill to grill your chicken or you can grill it on a grill. (To make this faster, buy chicken already grilled and ready to go). Add a small amount of olive oil to a wok or a large frying pan. Begin sautéing frozen vegetables. Add in the cooked rice and grilled chicken breast. Add soy sauce. Cook until rice and chicken are warmed through and veggies are crisp tender. Serve immediately.

Preparing and Cooking Smoked Foods on Your Barbecue Grill

One of the reasons why people love grilling is because of the unique smoked flavor that it brings. If you are craving for that delicious flavor but aren’t quite proficient yet with the art of smoking foods with your Weber grill, then read on.

Wood characteristics

Different types of wood produce their own characteristics. Because of this, one type of may be great when used to cook a type of meat, but that doesn’t mean it mixes up well with other meat types. Here are some examples. Alder is known to produce a unique flavor that is perfect for lighter meats such as salmons, sturgeons, and chicken.

Hickory on the other hand, produces a smoky and pungent flavor similar to that of bacon. Hickory matches well with wild game, pork, chicken, and cheeses. Apple makes a delicate, sweet and fruity smoke flavor, perfectly suited with game birds, pork, and beef.

You should also note that some wood types can cause the smoked food to appear pink or reddish. For example, chicken when completely cooked using apple wood will have a reddish color.

Beginners’ tips

Pouring starter fluid on the charcoal is a no-no since it tends to infuse your food with an unpalatable taste. Always remember to protect your self when handling the hot surfaces of your Weber grill. You can do this by wearing barbecue mitts or using tongs while flipping meats, adjusting the vents, adding charcoal, or refilling the water pans.

Keeping a meat thermometer handy while cooking in your Weber grill is a good idea, since this is a good way of assessing if the food is done while also avoiding overcooking. A meat thermometer is useful when smoking foods because the appearance of smoked foods is unlike that of other grilled but non smoked dishes.

Experimenting

Your Weber grill is suited to accommodate different types of wood when used to smoke food. Since people have different food preferences, one way of finding out which wood type is perfectly suited to your favorite meats is by experimenting. Try mixing and matching different combinations until you come up with the best one for your tastes.

When you are experimenting, it’s advisable for you to begin using only a small amount of your chosen wood. Check if it suits your taste. If it doesn’t, then try using up a small amount of a different type of wood. If it does, add more to achieve a smokier flavor – just remember not to use too much since if you overdo it, it might leave the food with a bitter taste.

Also, while experimenting, it is advisable to keep a notebook where you can write down food and wood combinations, the quantity used, and also the ingredients. You should also write down the outcome of each of your “tests” so you can note which works and which doesn’t.

As you gain more experience in smoking foods, you will also develop a better sense of which wood to use on which meat type. Just keep in mind that experimenting with your own combinations is simply a process of trial and error – you either get it right or not.

But one thing’s for sure, your persistence will pay off. And when it does, your smoked foods will be the as savory and delectable as any other.

Get Perfect DiGiorno Pizza Every Time – Cooking Tips

As a food lover you want to enjoy good tasting foods at home. Ordering out for pizza is a very popular tradition in the United States, Canada and many other countries, but recently frozen has become very popular. Frozen foods have come a long way and many people can no longer tell the difference between the taste of delivery, and home-cooked pizzas. When cooking for your own pizza a lot can go wrong, so in this article we give you tips to get the perfect tasting home cooked pizza.

Official Cooking Directions for DiGiorno

There are a few different methods for cooking your pizza at home, but in this section we will give you the companies instructions, just like you would find on the packaging

Preparation – The first thing you must do is prepare your food. The pizza must be removed from the box, and also taken out of the plastic wrapping. Remember to remove the cardboard as well. It should be noted that the pizza should be cooked from frozen; it should not be thawed.

Cooking Heat – The oven should be heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. A tip that I use is to start preheating the oven right away, then get the pizza and prepare it. The oven temperature is the same for one pizza or two

Cooking Time – The pizza should be cooked for 12-18 minutes for one pizza, or 16-22 minutes for two pizzas. If you cook two pizzas remember to rotate the location in the oven at the half way mark.

Save Money on DiGiorno

A good way to save money is to buy the pizza when it is on sale. Another good way is to use DiGiorno pizza coupons. These are available online on occasion so keep your eyes open for coupons that you can print off and redeem.

All The Many Ways To Cook Pizzas

Pizza is certainly not a new invention and throughout the centuries it has been cooked in a few different ways. The very first “oven” used to cook pizza was actually a pile of hot rocks heated by an open fire and today, methods of cooking pizzas still use the very same principles.

The ancient Greeks cooked their flat breads called plankuntos outdoors on hot stones and topped them with fruits, nuts, and other vegetation for seasonings. A few hundred years later and the Romans added to the dish with olive oil and more herbs and spices.

After the first cheeses were made it was also widely used as a topping for pizza. Once the first pizzeria was opened in Naples, Italy in the early 1800s it featured an elaborate brick oven complete with a marble counter for preparing the dough and assembling the toppings.

Brick or stone ovens for pizzas provide a more traditional experience and they can be fueled by electricity, gas, wood, or a combination of the latter two. A wood fueled brick oven provides heat from all angles allowing the pizza to cook evenly all around.

Pizza stones go hand in hand with these types of ovens and they too ensure a uniformly cooked pizza.

You will find that many authentic Italian eateries and restaurants have brick ovens and pizza stones to cook their pizzas to perfection. At home, we bake our pizzas in an ordinary oven using either prepackaged dough or the homemade variety. Most of us simply do not have the needed to space to install a brick or stone pizza oven in the kitchen but we can still mimic the flavor making our own pizzas especially when using a seasoned pizza stone.

As outdoor kitchens become more and more popular so does the outdoor pizza oven. However, fortunately you do not have to install a brick oven on the patio to enjoy pizzas cooked outdoors if you have a grill. Cooking pizzas on the grill has also become an easy and common way to make this rather tasty food.

Grilled Barbeque Pizza Recipe

What You Need

  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup corn (about 2 ears worth)
  • 1 large prepackaged pizza dough
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 pound whole wheat pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded

How to Make It

Preheat the grill to medium.

In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the diced tomato, the rinsed black beans, and the kernels of corn and toss to mix.

On a baking pan or sheet large enough for a 12 inch pizza, sprinkle the cornmeal evenly before stretching the dough across the pan.

Grill the pizza with the lid closed for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the crust starts to puff up and the bottom is lightly browned.

Flip the pizza over and coat the dough with barbeque sauce. Add the tomato mixture then the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Grill again with the lid closed for another 3 to 5 minutes or until the crust is light brown and the cheese is melted.

Delicious Pizzas Made From Your Home

The Biaggia pizza oven is professionally designed to fit the countertop in your home or office kitchen. You can now experience expertly baked pizzas right in your own kitchen.

Biaggia pizza oven Model 502 comes in polished stainless steel for the outer housing and the front of the food rack. Both rated at 22 gauge brushed 430 stainless steel. The inner case and internal case parts are aluminized steel to protect against corrosion. Its physical dimensions are 19 inches wide by 16 1/2 inches deep (excluding handle) by 7 5/8 inches tall with a cord length of 45 inches and weighs about 19 pounds.

The Dual heating elements at the top and bottom allows you to perfectly bake frozen pizzas in about 15 minutes or less, with no pre-heating required. The front panel has an easy to set 15-minute automatic shut off timer. A removable crumb tray is installed for easy cleaning. Plastic grill handle and crumb tray knob ensure safe handling. The oven is designed to be left on the kitchen counter after use.

The oven cooks at a pre-configured temperature of 450°C and this cannot be adjusted. It operates with a 15-minute dial timer. The baking grill is completely removable for convenient foot transfer and easy cleaning. You can use a baking pan that fits the oven if you want to prevent leaving mess or stains in the baking compartment. It runs on 1,450 watts of electricity and has rounded wire heating elements for faster cooking. The oven is approved by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and has UL Commercial Type Rating under its belt.

This oven is also well suited for baking other non-greasy snacks including quesadillas, pretzels, egg rolls, chicken fingers and fish sticks just to name a few. Even with a homemade dough, pizza baking yield far better results compared to a conventional oven. The baking quality is very near to commercial pizzas. Aside from baking pizzas, the oven is also good for conventional heating, baking, roasting or toasting non-greasy food that can fit its compartment. Please note that this pizza oven is not intended for baking rising dough crust pizzas or any greasy food.

With this pizza oven, you can cook pizza faster compared to regular kitchen ovens. You will find that most pizzas will cook from about 8 to 9 minutes. If you pre-heat the oven, the baking time after the pizza is placed inside will be shorter. Done properly, your pizzas will come out evenly cooked and perfectly browned from the oven. This oven is recommended for anyone who bakes frozen pizzas or other foods frequently.

An actual consumer revealed that the 2 heating elements are not equally sized and the lower coil may be found smaller than the top. If you were to bake with this arrangement, the pizza toppings may burn before the crust is done cooking. Although not recommended, this owner opened the oven (could void the warranty!) and swapped the larger heating element to the bottom and place the smaller heating coil on top. It was later reported that the oven can now cook homemade dough as good as restaurant pizza ovens.

With the Biaggia Professional Pizzeria Pizza and Snack Oven, it would no longer be practical to order pizza or have them delivered when you can make better ones right in your own kitchen. This full-featured and commercial-grade pizza oven can bake full-sized pizzas similar to the ones your order from restaurants or phone deliveries. Aside from making mouth-watering pizzas, you can also bake or cook anything that fits the tray. With the Biaggia Pizza and Snack Oven around, you can now throw the hottest pizza parties in town.

The Deluxe edition features an adjustable temperature control between 150°C-450°C and has a 30-minute automatic timer and a non-stick removable crumb tray.